Mashaal defends Kassam fire but says Hamas considering calm

Exiled Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, in a communiqué to Arab leaders, expressed willingness to seriously consider the possibility of an over-all calm with Israel, according to a report Friday in the London-based daily Al Hayat, which said that the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summit in scheduled to take place in Syria's capital over the weekend. According to the report, Mashaal defended the firing of Kassam and Grad rockets at Israel, a practice which was criticized by some of the Arab leaders, as well as by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called them "pointless." "There is no escaping the truth that the rockets in Gaza and the limited weaponry in the hands of the resistance are meant for defending our people and our land and are a response to the occupation and aggression," Mashaal wrote. However, he added, "All of the factions of the Palestinian resistance have expressed their willingness to seriously examine the issue of a calm, provided that it is overall, concurrent and mutual."